Three ways AcWriMo works

What is AcWriMo?

Academic Writing Month, or AcWriMo, is a challenge adopted by willing academics and those in related fields in the month of November. Participants decide on a goal that will challenge them and declare that goal on Twitter, using the hashtag #acwrimo. The same hashtag can be used to update the AcWriMo community on your progress.

The goals are flexible, and you can create one that fits what you need, as long as it is more than you would usually do. Some make one big goal for the whole of AcWriMo, such as finishing a chapter, a paper, or writing a certain number of words. Some make daily goals, such as a certain amount of words written or time spent each day. Others combine the two, using the daily goal to structure their progress towards the larger goal.

AcWriMo transforms November into a time to get a large amount of work done.

Why does AcWriMo work?

Because the idea of getting so much done is very appealing. When you set a daily goal and multiply that by your working days in the month, the word count flashes through your eyes like money symbols might for someone uncovering a gold mine. For PhD students in particular, the thesis word count is a terrifying, seemingly-unachievable thing. Thinking that you could write quite a lot of words in one month makes that number less terrifying and more achievable.

Because the goal is measurable. You only have to do it for 30 days (less if you aren’t working every day). After those 30 days, you can go back to however you did things before. 30 is a number we can count on our fingers, toes, and fingers again. It’s easy to imagine the end of it. So what’s the harm in trying for 30 days?

Because you are prioritising your goal. Often, some goals are obscured by things that are more urgent, but not necessarily as important. Writing can be one of those goals. What with reviewing the literature, planning studies, and analysing data, the concept of actually writing the thesis can hang over you like a paused boss fight on a video game. AcWriMo gives you the chance to devote time to whatever you feel needs it.

Are you doing AcWriMo? What made you decide to try it? Is it helping you so far?


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